We were so thankful to have Teen Lifeline available to meet with our students. With more demands on the school counselor’s time, it is great to have a reliable option for help with our students. We are already thinking about how we want to use TL next year. Dawson MS Counselor

Carroll ISD

It has been a great blessing to walk beside these kids on their turf, to equip them with some tools to help break the generational cycles of self-esteem, relationship, and spiritual poverty, and to assist them in casting a vision on where they want to be and how they might get there. Jacob

Decatur ISD, Support Groups Facilitator

In the end, these support groups help kids cope with life and realize that they are not isolated. They are not alone in their struggles. Jeff McCain

Current Teen Lifeline Board Member

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Teen

I have worked with teenagers now for over a decade. In that time, there have been significant changes in environment, social interaction, and educational expectations, but one thing has remained. Teenagers generally don’t feel they can talk to their parents. I’m coming from a place where I sit in groups with teenagers who are strangers to me and within 30 minutes of talking to them can get them to share who the most important person in their life is and why. I’m writing this not as the parent of a teen but as someone who works with teens, so this is also for any youth worker that wants their conversation to get better. I’m hopeful that this helps you, and I’m also hopeful it helps me as I start to create an environment for conversation with my elementary school kids that will carry into their teen years – because we all know if I wait, it’ll only get harder. In fact, today I was sitting in a group that has been meeting sporadically for about 12 weeks. One of the students brought up the difficulty she is having talking to her dad. There are lots of things involved with this situation, but I believe if her dad read these tips, he could learn so much more about his own daughter. With that in mind here are the tips I have found to be helpful, and I hope you can apply to your relationship with your teen as well.   Talk less. As a parent, it is difficult not to fill the silence. Resist this urge. In our training for group...

Motivation Monday: Open Doors

Teen Lifeline was able to reach 837 teenagers in 2015 – our biggest year yet! What is even better about this number is that it happened because of our awesome volunteers who take time out of their week to facilitate support groups with students. Jacob Baker, Youth and Family Minister at Decatur Church of Christ, is one of these facilitators and our guest blogger for Motivation Monday, part 2. We love hearing stories from our facilitators – about the students they reach, conversations they have and doors that are opened through these groups. As you’ll see from Jacob’s experience, support groups can open doors for relationships both with the school administration and students. We love that our facilitators go above and beyond the 1 hour a week that a support group typically takes. Many look for any opportunity to serve their local school district, and we are honored to partner with them in this ministry. If you ever doubt the impact that is made through Teen Lifeline support groups, talk to one of our facilitators. Listen to their stories. Take a peek into some of their conversations. Thank them for the work they are doing. Jacob was able to step into the life of a teenager in a difficult time, walk alongside him, and give him the tools and encouragement he needed to live life better. Sometimes it is one conversation, one small goal set for the future that can make the biggest difference.     Because of the trust that had been built with the administrators who have knowledge of the Teen Lifeline group that I lead, I was asked to...

Helping Students Find Hope in Hopelessness

A few weeks back, I was sitting with some students from a really tough part of our city and working through some of their resources. Part of our groups involve identifying and building up the student’s sense of courage, connectedness, self worth, and capability. What we noticed with this group is a general lack of self-reported capability. This seemed to be the trend throughout the group of young men. This was a strange happening in my experience. Generally, a group of young men will tend to overstate their courage and capability from a place of machismo or even lack of self-esteem. It’s a coping mechanism everyone uses from time to time to protect us from being real with each other. Yet for some reason, these young men decided to stop with the charade. Several of these young men were facing criminal charges as adolescents and were in a general “holding pattern” as they awaited what their PO (parole officer) or presiding judge had to say about their case. They felt like they had no real recourse and that the mistakes they made would follow them for the rest of their lives. These young men were between the ages of 15 and 17, and at this early age, they were experiencing something reserved for people typically much older – hopelessness. This hopelessness echoes from their upbringing, family structure, and their neighborhood. It’s a general sense that no matter what happens, they are doomed to the same cycle they have seen over and over again. My guess is this hopelessness has been ingrained earlier than my arrival into their lives. So...

Motivation Monday: A Lesson in Empathy

We are less than 9 weeks away from our 7th annual #TL5K! In order to celebrate our biggest fundraiser of the year and bring awareness to what actually happens through Teen Lifeline Support Groups, we are going to release a bonus blog once a week until our 5K on April 2nd! These blogs will be a small glimpse into the stories of teenagers we work with and some of the facilitators who make these groups possible. We are passionate about these groups because we get to see the faces, hear the stories and speak truth every single week. If you are just now getting introduced to Teen Lifeline or are wanting to know more about how we are helping teenagers live life better, these stories over the next 9 weeks are going to be a great way to take a behind-the-scenes peek at our non-profit. I often get asked about our support groups and what a successful group looks like. You have no idea how tricky that question is…what does the perfect family look like? What are the characteristics of a perfect classroom? These questions are impossible to answer because…it depends. It depends on the situation, the group of students, the needs of the group and the end-goal. Every single one of my groups is different, but one is not necessarily more successful than the others; however, there is one group in particular that comes to mind when I think of facilitating these support groups. Last year, I was able to lead a middle school support group at an alternative campus (these are students who have been moved from...

How to Stop Teens from Confiding in You

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to encourage teenagers to have meaningful relationships with adults. We talk about who they are close to and who they can go to for help. I love encouraging them to find adults that they can confide in and who will speak truth into their lives. Unfortunately, when we talk about parents, teachers, and other adults, students often say something along the lines of, “I can never tell them anything because…(fill in the blank).” Some of this can be attributed to those teenage years when many students want to separate themselves from adults as much as possible. However, there are also many adults who are acting (probably unintentionally) in a way that insures teenagers will never talk to them about anything serious/important.   Here are a few ways that you can make sure teenagers never confide in you: Tell them that they are just being dramatic. Teens have a flair for the dramatic – we know this. However, when they are sharing something important and personal, that is not the time to point out those dramatic tendencies. If they are sharing feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide, always take that seriously. First, make them feel validated in their feelings, and then you can ask more questions to determine what the next step should be. I’m sure you would rather be on the safe side of believing them and getting help, rather than blowing it off and having to get help after something bad has already happened.   Be dramatic when they tell you something.  While you can’t tell them...

Find the Right Resource Now

Since Teen Lifeline began in 2008, it has been part of our task to know what resources are out there, connect to them, evaluate them and share them with the people that need them. In spite of our efforts and the efforts of those around us, it is still difficult, especially in times of great need (crisis), to know where to get those resources. This is why I still hear school counselors say, “When (it) happened, we didn’t know who to call.” It is also why parents share the same sentiment. I believe the core reason for this is that in times of crisis or even just an extended adrenaline rush, our brains are trying to access information that we have not spent time inputting into our brain. Once I realized this for myself, I began to make some changes in the kinds of information I chose to intake. I decided to begin consuming the information I may need in a crisis or simply a difficult situation so that my brain could recall it when I needed it. If my brain couldn’t recall it, I wanted to be able to know where to look or who to call. The fact is, if you are a school counselor or a parent or a youth worker of any kind, and you talk to a teen dealing with a difficult issue or who is in crisis, and Google “teen counseling” or “teen in crisis,” you will get hundreds of millions of hits. Where do you go from there? Here are some of the places that I would suggest starting, and I would suggest...

Number of of students helped through Teen Lifeline during the 2015-2016 school year

%

Percentage of teenagers who feel overwhelmed

* SOURCE: NBCNews.com

Top 5 stressors for teenagers:

(see below – source)

  • School Work 78%
  • Parents 68%
  • Romantic relationships 64%
  • Friends’ problems 64%
  • Younger siblings 64%

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Teen Lifeline

2501 W. Southlake Blvd | Southlake | TX | 76092

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